By John Bombatch
XENIA — All kinds of emails show up in my mailbox, here at work. Most of them happen to be work related — area college and high school teams sending in results from a recent sports event, notes on an area athlete who is doing well in college, notice of an upcoming sports event or team signups — the usual important stuff.
But sometimes a message will come over that will offer to have me try out a product. That’s how I came in contact with a fellow named Ryann from Asylum Public Relations.
Ryann sent me an email about a fitness bracelet called the Active Edge Survival Strap.
It wasn’t a bracelet that would record my heart rate, or track the number of laps I ran, or some pedometer to measure how many steps I had taken. According to Ryann, just by wearing this Active Edge Survival Strap bracelet, I would see an improvement in my flexibility, grip strength and REM sleep.
Through a process called pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, the wires within these bracelets are infused with an electromagnetic frequency. When worn, the frequency within the bracelet aids in reducing pain and inflammation, improves energy and blood circulation, and improves one’s sleep quality.
(I was secretly hoping for some kind of a super power, too, like maybe invisibility or something.)
Being someone who lived a rather sedentary lifestyle at the time, I was intrigued.
I hadn’t honestly exercised regularly in probably three years! So I was curious to see just how this bracelet would affect me, a common tree slug in human form.
I ordered a band. A few weeks later, I received my navy blue Active Edge Survival Strap bracelet in the mail.
‘Now what?’ I thought. ‘Do I change my lifestyle? How do I run an accurate test to see how this bracelet will affect my life?’
My answer? Do nothing different.
I spent about a month just going about my daily routine, sans bracelet, and just observing my habits and lifestyle. I noticed that I often required a nap before I went into work. Without the nap, I’d be tuckered for the entire evening. I also noticed I was always tired, for one reason or another. No energy.
A month later, I tried on the band.
The clasp took a little bit of getting used to. It has a pin that inserts through a hole on the other end of the band. The pin then locks itself in place. It nearly frustrated me into not wearing the bracelet at all. Now, I’m an old pro at getting the bracelet attached, and it goes on in seconds. (I just timed myself: 10 seconds.)
In a few days time, I noticed several changes:
• I didn’t feel as tired as I had been when I didn’t wear the bracelet. Now I could scale the 71 steps to the top of the Fairborn soccer field press box and only feel as if my lungs were going to explode. (Before, I’d feel as if my legs would fall off, my lungs AND my heart would explode.)
• It used to take me 3-4 hours to finally get to sleep after chasing deadlines all evening, but with the bracelet I was “sawing logs” in what seemed like seconds. That whole REM sleep promise was true. I feel like I dream more now.
• I hardly ever take naps any more. My dogs aren’t happy about that. They always looked forward to our early afternoon naps. Now they just sorta stare at me in contempt. But I feel as if I have more energy now.
• And I joined a health club!
I wasn’t expecting that change at all.
I thought that maybe I’d take on a change in attitude, and that I’d maybe “feel” more upbeat and comfortable. Whether it was some sort of a placebo effect, where I mentally changed into someone more outgoing and happy, I don’t know. But it worked.
I’ve been going to the Kettering Rec Center gym three days a week now, and I really enjoy it. It’s one of the best parts of my day. This is my sixth week at the gym and I’m proud to say that I’ve gone from weighing 222 pounds on my 6-foot-3 frame, down to 215.
Most importantly, I just feel better about myself and my physical well being.
I don’t wear the bracelet while I work out, for fear that it would end up smelling like an old sweaty gym sock after a while. But I do wear my bracelet religiously throughout my day.
Is it a ruse? Will the supposed electromagnetic pulse within the bracelet go away after a while?
A Fox News article published this past May quotes Active Edge CEO and founder Kurt Walchle as saying that six-year-old test forms of the product still work.
Was the pulse ever really there in the first place? The U.S. Department of Defense is currently testing Active Edge bracelets with positive results, and the University of Florida’s Shands Hospital conducted tests that found wearers of the bracelets showed statistically significant differences in thermal imaging and temperature, over those who did not wear the bracelets.
So something is there.
Will I morph into a ball of fused energy and simply evaporate into thin air some day? Or am I just being suckered into being more active and healthy by the mere symbolism of the bracelet, so that every time I see it on my arm something inside my head tells me to be more active and more healthy?
Maybe, I don’t know.
But what I do know is this: Since I’ve started wearing this Active Edge bracelet, I feel better about myself. And for now at least, that’s good enough for me.